OK then. Let’s go down a recall list for the revelers and submit an after action report.
Left my hotel at 6pm and got to the Pitt HQ hotel, the Sheraton Times Square, a bit after. On the way there I walked up to Pat Narduzzi standing on the street corner looking up at the street signs and trying to figure out where he was with the phone in his hand.
It was kind of a nice scene because he was in his all Pitt blue and gold sweats and had two packages of shopping in his hands so he looked like a regular tourist but in full Pitt regalia.
Once I got into the hotel I walked up to the bar and saw two guys in Pitt gear so I sat down in the middle and began to speak with them. On my left was Brandon Ford’s father Richard and it was a real pleasure being with him; on my right was another rabid Pitt fan whose Name Escapes Me Now but we sat and talked for about an hour on everything that has to do with the Pitt football program.
Brandon’s Father had a lot of insights into the recruitment of his son, basically from the middle of Penn State territory as that’s where they grew up. He thinks the world of the coaching staff now but really had glowing respect for Paul Chryst and Joe Huber who began recruiting Brandon in his junior year of high school.
Richard said that when Joe Huber approaches your kid as an offensive lineman it is pretty much like the best in the business coming to tell you that he wants your son to play for him. It was hard to refuse that type of offer even though Brandon had traveled around and visited a lot of different Big 10 schools.
After that the Fords went to have dinner at Rosie O’Grady’s Saloon across the street and I went over to talk to Scott Orndoff’s father at the other end of the bar who had, of course, his son’s Jersey on. We had a really important and interesting conversation about Scott and his four years in the program and the changes he saw happen on the staff, team and admin. Really insightful stuff and some I didn’t know.
Scott, Sr is very proud and I mentioned to him that when I went to the Media Day at Spring practices I had a chance to talk to Scott and Jaymar Parrish together and that Scott was very open and honest about some of the things that he’s experienced in his four years, both good and bad. I discussed some of that with Scott’s father and then sat around drinking beer, a lot of beer, and reminiscing about Pittsburgh and Pitt’s old teams.
After dinner I went downstairs to Rosie O’Grady’s Pub in the basement of the building which was really truly Pitt Central at the time and I met a lot of old friends that I’ve known through tailgating at Pitt football games and some new ones also.
My first conversation was with The Partying Panther, Thomas Baily, who was wearing a panther head as a ball cap and holding court. Tom is a die-hard Pitt fan who takes his converted RV to all the home and almost all the away games that he can. He was sitting with some older players and we talked about what, if anything, is really different this time around.
That was the topic of conversation with everyone I spent time with actually. Later on I sat with Jeff Ferruza and ex-FB Lance Markle 9of Facebook’s “Pitt Panther Fanatics”along with some guys I knew from the message boards. Everyone was happy with this staff but all agreed that the real test will be when the bigger programs start offering Narduzzi.
I’d say that it was 50/50 on whether Pitt 1) has the money to compete on big contracts and 2) will be willing to spend it. That wasn’t surprising to me as Pitt fans tend to say one thing on the Internet and then another when a subject is discussed in detail.
Another in_depth talk we had with a players parents was about the QB for 2017. We discussed MacVitte’s readiness and agreed that the staff wants transfer Browne as the starter.
Saw Terry and Pamela Wirginis and talked about their kid’s excellent play this year…along with discussing the Gateway Flipper fleet (they own it) and their dealings with Coast Guard inspections. Years ago I trained the lady who now commands Coast Guard station in PGH.
Talked with Pat Bostick Jr about stuff… Barnes especially and his replacement, whoever that may be, but my bet is that it won’t be a retreaded Jim Tressel.
I also had some short conversations with a few staff coaches and a couple of players who were walking around. Most were on their way back into the hotel for a 9:00 curfew I believe but I could be wrong about that.
All in all it was a great night and I was stopped by a bucch of fans who recognized me as the writer of the POV and told me they read it daily… lots of parents included. One common theme was that is was great to read dissenting opinions in both the articles but also in the many comments and that they liked the civility in which the discussions are held. So thanks again for that.
Now – up to Billy’s Bar at Yankee Stadium then into the Press Box at around 1:30 0r so.